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Congratulations to Law Day Essay Contest Winner Alexandra Yao

July/August 2023

The CBA recognized Law Day 2023 with a civics education essay contest for students across Colorado. Alexandra Yao, a fifth grader at Graland Country Day School, was awarded the top prize. Her essay answers the questions, “What are the cornerstones of democracy, and why are they important?” Congratulations to Alexandra on her winning essay!

Power of the People: Let Our Voices Be Heard, by Alexandra Yao

Did you know that the word “democracy” is derived from two Greek words: “Demos,” which means people, and “Kratos,” which means power? Put together, I think democracy is reliant on the power of the people—not just politicians, the wealthy, or the ones in power, but we the people, as it states in our Constitution. This ties into the cornerstones of democracy, which are civics, civility, and collaboration, because in each—our voices as the people—are what matters most.

First, as to civics, it is so important that we rebuild trust in our institutions and our systems so that people (1) understand why voting and each branch of government are crucial; (2) make informed decisions when voting; and (3) actually exercise their right to vote. Every vote counts, and we should ensure that the voting process is accessible, inclusive, and fair.

Civility is just as important. We might not agree on all issues, but we can still be kind and respectful toward each other. We can ensure that people feel comfortable and safe to voice their opinions and have a say no matter their gender, race, religion, age, ethnicity, or economic status.

Finally, collaboration is my favorite cornerstone because it is what can happen when civics and civility successfully work together. We can all give and take a little to reach some middle ground that brings us one step closer to positively impacting our communities. That’s not just politicians but everyone as neighbors, community members, and even kids!